Director: Alexandre Aja
Cast: Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Ving Rhames, Jerry O'Connell, Steven R. McQueen, Jessica Szohr, Christopher Lloyd, Richard Dreyfuss
Piranha is kinda like the extreme version of films like Bats and Anaconda. The plot isn't really important, there must always be pretty people involved and the body count has to be high. Piranha is extreme because it takes everything up a notch and has no shame in being what it is.
Basically, the plot is simple here: it's spring break and all the young ones are partying hard at Lake Victoria, having fun in the sun, wearing very little to nothing at all and throwing caution to the wind. A small earthquake opens up the lake bed and releases thousands of deadly piranhas supposedly trapped in the earth for 2 million years. And they're hungry.
It's up to a tough female sheriff, her deputy and a seismic scientist to save as many lives as they can when the fishes start chomping on the hapless partygoers, which unfortunately includes the sheriff's kids.
Director Alexandre Aja is no stranger to violence, as evidenced in films like Mirrors and The Hills Have Eyes. In Piranha, he pulls no punches and shows all the blood and flesh flying about when the piranhas hit, and boy is it fun to watch. Now don't take me for a sadist here, because it's all so over the top, there's no way you can look at it and say it's real. Even if you do, it'll give you a good scare for a while, which is still fun.
I had a blast watching victims lose their flesh, face, limbs, appendages, everything. It's too bad we didn't get this in 3D here, I heard audiences in the US had a ball seeing all this unfold in 3D, it must have been awesome. My other gripe is the censorship board removing all the nude scenes, but I get that.
Elisabeth Shue and Ving Rhames stand out as the sheriff and the deputy here, while Jerry O'Connell plays the token asshole required in films like this. The legendary Steve McQueen's grandson Steven also puts in a solid performance as the sheriff's eldest son, Jake. Christopher Lloyd gets to channel Doc Brown as the marine biologist while Richard Dreyfuss gets a cameo appearance as a homage to his Jaws character.
If there's one thing Aja did which I didn't like, it was ending the film abruptly, just so he can make a sequel. I totally understand that, I just wish it didn't end like THAT. But hey, I'm game for Piranha 2. Bring it on! (3.5/5)